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Making people (and similar)

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I am at the stage where i want to introduce a character (and monsters) into my 3d world. My first instinct is to build various body parts (head, right forearm, left leg below the knee, and so on) and then peice them together in my code in the places they belong. This seems fairly simple and straight forward. Having certain key parts, namely hands, head, elbows, knees pelvis, and feet (and possibly shoulders) and keeping tabs at all times on their position, then drawing the rest of the body in to match these body part''s position (tying them all together, basically). But that is from my head, and my head hasn''t done 3d people before in a game. How does everyone else build people in their worlds? I have seen a skeleton animation article, which is fine, but the person in question had to animate each different movement in milkshape, then load these animations into the project. That is too much animation for me, when my system (if workable, i think it should be, it has probably been done hundreds of times before) would do it all for you, if you feed in the key body part''s positions. I say too much animation because my game is a hand to hand combat game with too many moves to animate without a team to help you out. I am fairly pleased with my improvement in opengl, and this is the next step for me. Any input will surely help me along my way, so thank you for any help, advice and useful links and examples regarding the topic.

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Just bumping this post to the top with a reply, since it would also be extremely useful for myself. I have everything laid out, the only problem is my characters are currently moving rectangles who shoot squares at you.

What do people find to be the way of implementing decent looking non-propietary animation? I was considering MD2/MD3 which seem relatively simple, but it seems cheap to use a file format for a requisite part of a game, that you did not code yourself...

I am also still quite fuzzy on vertex interpolation, anybody know of a nice tutorial?

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Here are a few suggustions specific to your game:

1. Build models in milkshape that dont animate and load those as your body parts (its a lot easier making models in a 3d editor than coding them). For example you could make a head and use those as your various body parts.

2. Heres what im doing in my game: Take your fully completed and jointed models and animate them in the game. Basically every skeletal animation consists of a matrix(1 per joint) which distorts the original model from its original position to the new position given a frame. What you do is edit these matricies in run time. You could also do specific animations in the model like a hand grabbing something and multiply your "coordination" matrix by the matrix of the joint. By doing this you could say move the characters hand to grab an object and all you would have to animate is the hand grabbing.

In other words use milkshape. Its so much easier.

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To be honest.... seeing as you're relatively inexperienced in this area... I'd advise you DO implement some kind of well-known game model. (I suggest MD3.. if it's good enough for ID's last title... it's good enough for you hehehe).

If you feel the need to replace it later... then fine. Right now I'm using MD3 playermodels, but I'm also working on a maya exporter for my own model format. (It's going pretty well too, but still a way to go).

I'd advise you start with a model format that already has...
1) an editor (or 3).
2) lots of example media already out there.

Just for your first models... MD2, MD3 are ideal choices.

(note... you said that its too much animation e.t.c for you to bother with ms3d models.. which is another good reason to take the md3 format, which already has thousands of animated models out there on the net just waiting for you to use them (although not commerically of course))

Also...... u said...
I say too much animation because my game is a hand to hand combat game with too many moves to animate without a team to help you out

... and I hate to say it... but either way.. you're going to need to do the animations.... be it in code, or as part of the model.

My advice is this.... no matter what way you want to do it... the animations will all have to be done, so I suggest choosing a model format that has an editor already out there (MD3 for example). If you want to create your own model format, it's still an idea to use a temporary model format (like I am), so you can continue your game code. Then, on the side, start work on a 3dsmax/maya exporter (both have SDK's which make creating exporters easier than writing an entire model editing program + exporter to your format).

(seeing as no-one else had replied yet, I guess this still something... )

btw.... u might want to check www.gametutorials.com for more information (they load in *thinks* about 5 different model formats, some of which also have animations).

Happy Coding.. :D


EDIT: Someone replied while I was replying...

[edited by - Cobra on April 20, 2002 10:53:47 PM]

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For a hand-to-hand combat game I''d reccomend MD2 instead of MD3. In MD3 the top and bottom halve of the models are animated seperately to give more animation options in less keyframes (combining different top and bottom animations). This usually results in a static bodypart (the waste, where the two halves are joined). It''s good for shooters but in HTH you probabelly want to have animations that move the entire body (dodging etc.)

There''s more modelling involved but it''ll look better I think

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